It's been an amazing six months since this whole transition took place.
As 2011 comes to a close I find myself working on the MN State Arts Board Grant. Specifically I have been working on the narrative portion. It's an opportunity to really reflect on the trials and challenges of this past year. It's also a major reminder that there have been a lot of successes. And, perhaps even more importantly, that nothing at all is permanent.
In Seth Godin's (marketer and change guru) blog today he had a quote that struck me as an appropriate mantra for 2011: "The only standard is impermanence."
How true that has been for this past year at the Southern. Things that seemed sacrosanct a year or two ago, processes and positions we never would have touched, were all up for grabs as our preceptions and priorities were shifted in the cataclysm.
And now that the winds have calmed we are left rebuilding. Probably the greatest lesson I can take from the turmoil of 2011 is to keep an eye on what I'm making, but keep an eye on the horizon. To be ready to shift what I'm builidng because the world around me is changing. To quote one of my wife's favorite songwriters Ani DiFranco "what doesn't bend, breaks".
At the 2011 Southern Exposure Fundraiser, Patrick Scully, long time supporter of the Southern and consummate artist, eloquently spoke of the Southern as "a pirate ship" in the Twin Cities performance scene. A place that filled a niche for those groups that didn't want to do it the way everyone else was. I loved this metaphor, and yet in some ways I think Patrick may have been more prophetic than historic in his account.
The Southern in many ways had become stagnant in it's travels, rooted in the way things had been, creating not a vessel that could navigate waters, but a fortress that tried to withstand the coming storms of change. Now though, we are rebuilding, we have taken what we can salvage and are rebuilding. And I think Patrick's words will help us see that the blueprint for the Southern's future is not in brick and mortar, but in wood and sail.
I envision and organization that, like a good vessel, sails the seas exploring new lands, docking at strange ports, taking on exotic travelers and exciting opportunities, seeking out adventure and risk, and ultimately challenging the status quo of how things have been done in the past.
2012 is the land of opportunity for the Southern. We have our heading, time to set sail.